Lessons From Paediatrics

Well. It’s been a very long 6 weeks on my first run of the year. But I have finally crossed the finish like and thank goodness for that. 6 weeks of worrying about how to handle babies. About dropping or breaking them, 6 weeks of listening to awkward conversations in clinics, 6 weeks of internal trauma when a baby starts crying during the examination and you are unsure how to make it stop, but you have to continue with the examination, but you can’t hear the heart sounds over the loud squealing and the respiratory rate is too fast to count, eughhhhh. And 6 weeks of listening to doctors and nurses and parents all using baby talk and a lot of cooing and attempting it yourself while pretending to the parents that the baby in front of you is very cute even though she/he is kicking you in the stomach as you try to examine them.

Whew.

I can’t say it’s been the best rotation for me for lots of reasons. But I think there were some important lessons learnt from paediatrics.

  1. paedatricians can be very weird.
    I’m not sure why, but I found the paediatricians at my hospital to have an even bigger God complex than doctors in adult medicine. They are the word. I think they feel that because they are able to fix little children who are so difficult to communicate to and are so vulnerable, suddenly they are experts at analysing and fixing all the humans around them. Honestly, one of the paediatricians even felt the need to teach students about “character” and how important it is to establish who you are as a person otherwise you won’t go very far in life and be able to buy your son an iphone 7 at the age of 12. Zzzzzzz How ’bout you take a step back.
  2. Shhhh-ing a crying child does NOT make them stop crying.
    Yes it took me 6 weeks to figure that out. Well I always knew it when someone showed up to a lecture with their new baby and decided to sit in the back of the lecture theatre with the baby crying non-stop and the mother decided the most constructive thing she could do is remain in the lecture SHHHHHHHHHH her child every 5 minutes. Which was as successful as you can imagine. I have no idea what that lecture was about. The baby crying is all I can remember. But people still attempt to shush crying babies. Like what are people hoping is going to happen? The baby is going to say “Oh I’m so sorry, how rude of me. I’ll try be more quiet”? Or do they think it’s calming? I for one would NOT appreciate if someone came very close to my face and said SHHHHHHH while I am crying. I’d cry harder I think. But yes. These 6 weeks have taught me to come up with inventive ways to get a baby or a small child to stop crying  and I’m still not very good at it. Babies and children cry. They just do. Learn to deal with it.
  3. The bubble.
    All jokes aside, I really learnt something important in paediatrics. I saw some children with horrific health problems and disabilities but were still some of sweetest, happiest children I had ever come across. It’s just a bit amazing how for children, nothing deters their happiness for too long. Just a cuddle from their mom, or their favourite food, or their favourite toy is all they need, and no problem is too big to face. I really envy that. Remember when you were 5 and the smallest things made you so happy for the whole day? I miss that. Someone once said to me that I live in my own bubble of immaturity. They probably meant it as an insult, but I honestly was not offended. I wish to remain in my bubble of immaturity. I think we all should. If being ‘immature’ means that you can face all your problems without letting it affect you, and you’re able to find that genuine happiness in the smallest things, why wouldn’t you want to stay in the bubble? These are kids with heart conditions or neurological conditions that they may never recover from. And yet, they run around laughing and playing as though the world is theirs. While here I am, perfectly healthy and stressing about everything. But it made me happy to see kids like that. I’d like to think I learnt something from them. Something I should carry onward.

And those were the lessons from 6 weeks. Now, onto the next rotation. Here comes O&G. Or OBGYN or Obs&Gynae. Take your pick. It’s supposed to be a very intense rotation. But we’ll see. Done so much already, can do this too, I hope.

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